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Monday, March 12, 2012

Say Goodbye To Hollywood, To Luiggi… And The Gang At P & D’s Pizzeria

Has this ever happened to you?

It’s a late afternoon that's swiftly turning into evening. You’ve been sticking to your diet like a champ in training, but damn it, the time for fun has come and you deserve a special treat! You’re in the mood for your favorite food. You begin to crave this food so much you can actually TASTE it on your tongue. You know its flavor by heart. It’s so mad-crazy-stoopid delicious, you’re actually salivating. It's sooo damned good, even your senses trip and begin hallucinating. This becomes your one and only preoccupation.


You just can’t WAIT to sink your teefus into this delectable meal. It’s… it’s even mo betta than great sloppy sex... on dough!


This object of desire could be most anything edible and mad luscious. In my case, it happens to be that once–a-month slice of mouth-watering NY-style pizza served up so spicy-hot with that tasty killa combo. Yes, that combo! It has become so familiar to the senses and to the people working within the establishment that it has earned its own shorthand nickname: “Pizza/ MOP.” M.O.P = Meatballs, Onions & Peppers. Oh my!


Luiggi knows how to do it up most righteously. It’s long ago become akin to witnessing fine performance art just to watch him flipping the dough and then making a spectacle of olive oil, tomato sauce, mozzarella, parmesan and shredded feta cheeses. There’s so much love in this cat’s work. There’s a sense of pride in knowing that he’s creating these edible masterpieces for the masses, sometimes cranking out about a hundred of them a day.

This place, this joint, this spot, this boite has become such a usual and perhaps even vital part of your world, your sphere, your lifestyle and your steelo, that you begin to think of it as your own personal Cheers. Yes, everybody there KNOWS your name. Sometimes, they even shout it out in unison when you enter.


And afterwards, the more somber, buttoned-up waitress addresses you as "Leonardo."

This is love, right? It’s like your second-home. This is your Valhalla and your Mecca. It’s your sweet spot and your ambrosia!


The atmosphere is friendly and clean, but not too ornate or fancy. It suits you. It invites you inside to partake in a variety of Italian cuisine and culinary delights. You like it here. You can kick back and exhale here. Ahhh yes...

So you turn that familiar corner, hungry, beyond hungry… just so damned anxious to taste that nirvana on your tongue... And then... you notice how the place looks somehow different and strange and unusually darker. Hmmm… you wonder: Are they going for a newer, dimmer ambiance? Then you attempt to open the door, this entrance to your second home, expecting to be hit by the smells of all those delicious aromas wafting up your nostrils, and that patter of friendly banter caressing your ears, and the employees there to call out your name like they tend to do, which both embarrasses and welcomes you… ONLY... the door never opens... those aromas never arrive... and the banter never materializes.

That damn door is LOCKED!


It’s closed, yo. Closed? No. NOOOOOOOOOOOO! Can't be. This is madness! Aiiight now… stop playin’ y’ all! I’m serious! Hey, its Lin, yo! Open up!

Only no one ever comes to the door, and no one is there to greet you.

This place, your second home; that dome of heavenly aromas is gone. Is no more.... is Poof! Is... ghost! Is... Out. Of. Business!

Pipe in that Esther Rolle as Florida Evans patented 1, 2, 3, 4 times with feeling:

"Damn! DAMN! DaMMMMN! Day-YUM!" Photobucket

No one told you. No one warned you. No one ever gave any clue that this day was coming.

You feel all at once: ravenous and foolish. This feeling soon morphs into chronic states of disbelief, disappointment and then... betrayal. This suddenly shifts into curiosity, grief, anger and something like a death within your immediate family.

How could this possibly happen? Where the HELL will you get your pasta fix, now?

More importantly: What will happen to the workers, the cooks, the waiters and waitresses? What will become of the ambitious bartender who wanted to be an actor, and had once appeared in a bit role on an episode of Law and Order, and who never failed to mention it once you indulged in conversation that lasted longer than a minute or two? What would become of these beautiful people with their humble plans and their dreams, their ambitions and their families?

Yes, the hunger pangs are physical and pressing, but it’s the Bigger Picture that is haunting and much more overwhelming.

This economy is a beast that gobbles up the dreams of little people in one fell swoop.

This economy is a bitch that gnaws at the arms and legs and the vital parts of this collective body we call America.

This economy is taking the (fast) food from my mouth, and squashing the souls of those who once served it up with a smile.

Yes. They’ve turned off all the ovens, shut off the lights, and bolted the door shut to my favorite pizzeria.

Never again will I imbibe in the utter lusciousness of a 'MOP' slice.


Never again will I hear my name shouted in some slightly Italian accent as I enter that small piece of urban paradise.

This isht hurts so much… and not just within that gnawing empty space inside of my belly.

Nah. It's so much BIGGER than that!

This time... it’s gotten personal!

"Damn! DAMN! DaMMMMN! Day-YUM!" Photobucket



Anna Renee said...

OMG!! Lin, I was standing right beside you, banging on that door and running to the side to look in that window.

OMG! It's so sad. This is how I felt about my bookstore - a place that existed for 80 years and that I only found in its 70th year. It had all the good books, a full black section with Richard Wright and James Baldwin and Chinua Achebe and J Califoria Cooper.

I worked in the shipping and receiving & touched just about every book in the place. I had 10 good years. I met Barry White in that bookstore! I love-ded that bookstore....

Tragic is an understatement.

...Cue in the music and Colonel Sanders in the wings sinisterly laughing, Bwahahaha...BWAHAAHAAAHAAAAAAA!!

Val said...

Real radio was my Luiggi's, Lin. In 1996 Bill Clinton opened the door for corporate radio to take over and it did.

Radio hasn't been the same since. So I know how you feel.

(I'm not sure if my first comment went through)

Lovebabz said...

BINGO! You captured it! I have had this happen to me with restaurants, bookstores, boutiques, quite a few of my favorite haunts.

LOL! The pain of it all comes rushing back! Damn damn damn!

Oh you'll find other places to fill the gap, but I know...nothing compares. Nothing.(hangs head, walks away kicking rocks)

BigmacInPittsburgh said...

In this day and age of corporate pizza joints,most folks won't realize the personal touch and feeling of a joint like Luiggi's!

Moanerplicity said...

@Anna May: Yo! Don't even get me started on book stores! I once worked in one very close to my home & it was my chill spot, my sanctuary. As a writer, to be surrounded by books, new ones, classics, it was my personal euphoria. Then suddenly, w/ just two weeks notice, they closed it to make more room for parking near a mall space. WTF? It came like a stake thru my heart.

So, trust, I smell you on that one!

Also, I coulda used some backup to bang on those windows, or just someone to bitch with as I walked away defeated, all hurt-up, kickin rocks & small puppies all the way home.


Moanerplicity said...

Wow, Val. I didn't know that Clinton was the one responsible for the death of real radio. I always attributed it to corporate greed. Hmmm...

You just reminded me that I haven't really listened to the radio since the mid-90s. Prior to that it was such a vital part of my mornings before school & later on before heading to work.

Just goes to show that not all change is a good thing.


Moanerplicity said...

@ Lovebabz:

The personal touch is what I'll miss most about this place. The same can be said of most mom & pop stores where people actually greet you & make you feel welcome in their space.

And trust, the pizza was EXCELLENT! Some of the BEST ever created! I've had my share of good, bad, blah & uninspired pizza over the years & so finding another to replace my spot will NOT be a cakewalk!

*hangs head & tries to breathe to keep from crying, yet again*


Moanerplicity said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Moanerplicity said...

@ Mac:

That's so true, Mac. And most times the product sold by those corporate joints straight up suuuuuuucccks! I guess when you haven't had the real thing prepared by real artisans of the craft, a slice is just a slice. But I've been spoiled, so I've learned to appreciate REAL QUALITY pizza!


Roger Poladopoulos said...

I feel you, my blogger brother! I'd probably end up in a straight-jacket (about the only straight item I'd be eligible for) if Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia disappeared!

Moanerplicity said...

@ Roger:

Since Ben & Jerry's is now a multi- million dollar corporation & 'Cherry Garcia' must be one of its most popular flavors, I highly doubt you'll need that straight-jacket. LOL. So no worries.

Thanks for rollin thru, tho.


Anna Renee said...

After my STaceys Bookstore closed, I came down off my high horse and went on ahead to was OK; pretty bland even with the cafe and stuff.
But then to add insult to an old injury, they even closed THAT down!!
Slumped shoulders weighted with defeat.

Moanerplicity said...

Wow That sucks, Anna. For real. There have been more than a few Borders stores closing in my neck (of the wooods) also.

When it comes down to it: maybe we're all just these creatures of habit... where all is good, & we like the lane we're rolling in... & THEN suddenly LIFE happens, bringing all these changes, uprooting us, taking us outta our element, redirecting us elsewhere, replacing our comfort zones w/ all this new fangled isht!

It's the natural order of things, I guess. That doesn't mean we have to LIKE it, or that we can't grieve what once was.

** Consider me still deep in my Esther Rolle 'Day-YUM!' mode*


♥ CG ♥ said...

Dang, I feel you on this. Isn't it amazing how culinary delights can bring folks from all over the world together as if they've been friends from birth? Nothing like walking into a place where they all know your name *sniff sniff*. I'd take this over the foo-froo joints any day. I hope they pop back up with a grand-reopening sign and welcoming arms :-)

A Free Spirit Butterfly said...

The build up of this story left me holding my breath...

Wow. My heart goes out to you. The "relationship" sounded really intense. The type of chemistry that doesn't come around too often.

I once read that for every ending, there is a bright and new beginning.

Although, some things just don't leave the mind. They linger way back in the subconscious...

Love for great day

Moanerplicity said...

@ CG:

Wow! If ony this were a temp thing, & that soon they'd be reopening, Bigger & Better than ever... I could deal w/ it w/ less hurt & malice.

But alas, that sadly is not the case.

To add a heavier boot to my neck: I recently called the old number, & it is now residental number where 'Bill & Amanda' announce themselves & request you leave a message on their voicemail!


This is madness!


Moanerplicity said...

@ Free Spirit Butterfly:

Yes, it was a "relationship" & it lasted for over 10 years. I was a faithful customer & they treated me like family from the Southern tip Sicily. So, you're correct. That kind of thing doesn't come along everyday.

I will miss that place, much like a dead family member whose funeral I was not allowed to attend because I'd never gotten word of their passing.


Thanks for your input.


Reggie said...

Damn brother you had me wanting a slice my damned self!!! It's places like this that dreams are made of...........

Moanerplicity said...

@ Reggie:

Oh, trust bruh. The pizza there was like stoopid delicious dopeness & it's so hard to find a place that's nearby, friendly AND makes food just the way you like it!

So needless to say, I'ma mess right about now.


Chet said...

It is so sad that all the places/establishments that brought so much joy to our lives have since been replaced by the big popular chains and never will there be memories of any good times be made in those places as it did in the smaller more personal places.